Full disclosure, Chewers. This film fell into CHUD‘s lap in the form of a free screener. The task of writing the review fell to me. As someone who supports independent cinema and wants to see it flourish, I take no joy in publishing this review:
Is 1,000 Times More Brutal the worst film I’ve ever seen? I don’t know; I’d have to think back to every terrible film I’ve ever witnessed. As that’d require more thought than director Kamal Ahmed applied to his film, I don’t feel it’s worth the effort. I see terrible movies all the time, comes with the job. But it’s the rare piece of shit that I ardently hate. For me, no experience better sums up that differentiation than 1,000 Times More Brutal. Racist, misogynist, homophobic, long – it caused a kneejerk reaction that has me second guessing the contributions of Louis Lumiere and his contemporaries. Perhaps this all could have been avoided.
It’s pretty clear that, as he began the writing process, Ahmed’s goal was to digest every mob movie stereotype he’d ever come across and diarrhea them back out and into viewers’ eyes. This is The Sopranos or Goodfellas if you were to remove context from the asides. So what’s interesting or insightful in those efforts becomes pendantic and tinged with venomous negativity. But that’s the entire film: awfully written characters saying and doing awfully written things. This is a film that’s one redeeming quality is the laugh it provided when the main character fluffed his armpit hair before going clubbing. If nothing else, I appreciated the few seconds of silence inherent with watching someone tousle their pubes in front of a mirror.
Ahmed deserves credit for taking a straightforward plot and twisting it into the stale, limp pretzel it becomes. Four friends commit an exaggerated act of vengeance upon a low-level mobster – robbing him and his racket a heavy chunk of change. Three years later, that vengeance is then visited on them many times over. How many times? No really, how many more times brutal do you think? Go ahead… I’ll wait.
These “happenings” that occur are recounted by Antonio (David Dastmalchian, TDK Joker-thug and above-mentioned armpit fluffer). There’s something seriously messed up about Antonio as a narrator. There’s an extended sequence where the only thing that’s asked of him is to get to the fucking point. And he refuses, his flashbacks take forever. And they include exchanges like the following which, I swear to you, serves a point I’m about to make:
“Oh shit, it’s Patty. I used to bang the shit outta this girl in college.”
“Yo, you give it to her up the ass, bro? Moolie style or what?”
“You kiddin’ me? That’s her favorite thing.”
“Yo, you better be using condoms, bro.”
“Naw, I don’t like the way they feel.”
“Yo, then try the lambskin condom. They feel totally natural.”
“Naw bro, last time I fucked a chick in the ass with a lambskin condom the whole bedroom smelled like a gyro (pronounced GEE-ROH).”
So are we to believe that this aside, which Antonio was not present for, was included verbally to the mob associate Antonio was talking to? Why would he tell someone that? Even more fucked up; it’s possible that he makes this part of the story up, given he wasn’t even a part of the above-exchange. So the people who had that conversation needed to tell Antonio, who then needed to tell a mob enforcer that desperately wants Antonio to make his point. I’m positive the film kept playing, but it was at this point where I woke up bloodied and in a ditch – a full seven days later.
I don’t have the answer to the question 1,000 Times More Brutal raised. I just know I never want to think about it again. Not having a budget, decent actors, lighting, a script, crafts services – these are not badges of honor in and of themselves. Making a good film in spite of those deficiencies; that is the true spirit of quality indie filmmaking. 1,000 Times More Brutal isn’t that. This isn’t The Room, it’s not a fun exercise in the so-bad-it’s-good vein. It’s a feat of endurance and a trial of one’s goodwill. The only thing more brutal than this film is the thought of seeing it twice.